#AIS: Opening chat with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez - Transcripts
Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce your besties, the queen of to the Sultan of signs. David Freeburg Rain man, David, the dictator himself Palihapitiya and everyone's favorite bestie. The point God Rain man being inside.
I cannot believe what Jake has pulled off here. I mean, I am in shock that this is even real. I still don't know where all the money
went, but the amount of money you embezzled, we are witnessing our first Theranos moment starring Jason Calacanis. Guys, I got great news for you. I took all the money. I put it in luna. I haven't checked in the last week, but we were up three X. We're gonna kill this. Um you'll never find the money. I put it through multiple Bitcoin tumblers. It's gonna be great welcome everybody. By the way, sorry. This is a joke to everybody in the room, but one person sitting over here who is really sweating the accounting of this. He had a panic attack in the beginning.
I said if Jacob was gonna do this, we're gonna have a grift session. We're gonna all sit down and we're gonna figure out where the grift happen because it's gonna happen. The guy who's always calling out the grift knows how to grift better than anyone else. We'll figure this out. Half the families here. Have you guys met them all. They're great people. But are
there any who are not on the
payroll. I've been, I've been your biggest supporter defending you from these two fucking jackals. But it finally got into my brain as well. So when I got into the hotel room and I opened the bag, I was like, Maybe this cup costs $4,000. It's very possible it's a heated cup. Who are we to know? It's
like the pentagon or something, You know,
I mean like when George Bush was in the supermarket, he didn't know how much a tomato or a gallon of milk.
I have no idea.
I'm sorry, I'm
not gonna pretend.
I asked sacks. When's the last time you flew flew commercial? Which George Bush was in office? Herbert walker? Yeah,
it was. I think Obama was still in office.
Yeah, he just won the democratic. We're so great grateful for you all to come here. How many people flew just by a show of hands in a whoop whoop. How many people flew over 10 hours to get here? Oh my God. I mean, it's pretty incredible. Um fans from around the world. Uh and I just think, uh, you know, it's very special to us, um that this podcast means so much to you last night, we we, you know, had a little debrief and The things you said to us, you know, when we when we when we met you all and it's very weird to do a podcast like this. And have it become super popular item two weeks ago, it became the 26th most popular episode in the app store, which to us was crazy. We did this because we were losing our minds and Covid and as friends, we couldn't play poker, we couldn't see each other was very lonely and we did this for ourselves and the fact that all of you got some value from it. Uh, it was just remarkable to us, like as a concept but incredibly um gracious of you all to come here and then to tell us what it means to you, uh it just has blown us away that people are even tuning in to it. How has it changed your life?
Friedberg? I mean, you were, nobody literally didn't have a twitter account. We were all very famous tech industry, but nobody knew you. I mean, I mean literally we were backstage and they said Queen of and this audience went crazy. I mean you're very socially awkward. Tell us what, what is it like for you to be famous? You know, I appreciate that. But I'll tell you the, the, the weird thing is we go into our office for 90 minutes a week and we talk to each other over zoom and then we go in the room and people want to take pictures. That's what's so like strange. It's like we've never done this and we did it once in person together, right the pod, we've always done it over zoom and it was always like a remote. Like it always just felt like, hey, I got a, I got meetings on either side, let's go do the pod for 90 minutes and then all of a sudden it's like, hey, you know, people actually listen to us talking to resume, it's a little wacky. I'll tell you.
Um but it was great to meet everyone last night. I think it was, it was really cool because I heard a lot of stories last night about some dude sold his company for like sucking $2 billion. Where's that guy? That guy? And he's like, he's like, yeah, he said he sold his company because of the call we made on the top of the market and he's like, I took the deal at 21 times revenue. Oh, there he is. Oh, who's this guy? Welcome. Um Anyways, everybody was crazy. What
The mayor of Miami Francis. I take it, I take it 11. Just close. I
got to dress like a human being for about an
It actually doesn't close. 11
11 doesn't close. So we'll just go there for
hours. Not that
I've ever been there, but
yes. Um hey, thanks for hosting us. We were thinking of a place to do it and uh, you were gracious enough to, to encourage
everywhere else in the country. So you decided to come here
here. Um, but what an incredible um, resurgence and courting of the tech industry you've done here. Tell us about a little bit about what's happened in the last two years since you started replying to people on twitter saying, hey, um, if you're running a business, we'd like to help you.
Yeah, sort of the United States of America type of approach, right, fundamentally american where we want to create high paying jobs in our city. We want to empower people. We want to give people an opportunity at being prosperous and for some reason in this country and in certain cities that's been frowned upon or it makes you feel guilty about it. And here in Miami were fundamentally shaped by our sort of our origin story, right? And many people in Miami were exiled from their country of birth for, because in those countries, communist regimes took over. And obviously in those countries, a government official is saying, hey, give me your property, give me your your business and don't worry, I'll make everybody equal and they do make everybody equal, they make everybody equally miserable. So, uh, you know, they, they've accomplished that and whenever government wants to grow, you should run in the opposite direction. And so in Miami, we do it by by following some simple rules, we keep taxes as low as humanly possible and shocker. Our budget has doubled in size Since we have kept taxes to 1960s lows. Uh, we focus on quality of life. So we have the lowest homeless rate since 2013 were the first major city I think in America to actually try to get to zero, we want to have zero homeless. Um, and we, we, we actually invest in safety.
You know, we actually, while other cities decreased funding for police, we've increased funding for police who have the most, we have the most police officers we've ever had in our history by the way. They have the hardest job in America right now are police officers and I'm gonna give you a shocking correlation. Our crime went down
shocking. So he added police,
crime went down.
Yes, I know it's, it's bewildering. Our homicide rate went down by 23% last year. This year, it's down by 40% from the 23% of last year. So almost 63
two years. So that's basically the combination of economic prosperity and then safety and security people are too busy to think about all of the long tail things they could be doing to screw up their own lives or somebody else's life. They're just living a good life.
Yeah, we have 1.4% unemployment. We were number one in the nation and wage growth were number one in the nation. In tech jobs were number one in tech job migration, I think we've moved two trillion a um, in the last 18 months And RBC pipeline grew by 200% year over year and to put that number in context if it was a zero sum game and our gain was for example, San Francisco's loss, which it may very well be going into the future, um, in two years would overtake San Francisco as a VC capital of the world.
Yeah. And to be clear, you know, this is a very liberal city that is welcoming of all people, which is not like you've become some like insane, crazy right wing, like teal sacks insanity, You still are like fine with people living their lives. And, you know,
yes, we're very much into freedom. Uh, we're kind of sort of libertarian here in Miami, uh, and, and, you know, we want people to live their lives as they see fit. Uh, we're not here to tell them what to do. We're here to create the conditions for their prosperity, to the extent that government even gets involved in that right? We we like to stay out of people's business. We try to be efficient, which I know is almost an oxymoron in government and we try to facilitate people's growth and success. That's it. That's all we do.
Tell us about your
support of crypto. So, you know, when we were trying to create this buzz and ecosystem, we knew we had to disrupt the natural order of things. And so our hack right are David and Goliath sort of slingshot hack was to go all in on crypto part of the reason why is, you know, I understood the fundamentals of it, I like the fundamentals of it, um, you know, I think one of the things that's missing in our society is trust. And when you see policymakers, whether at the Fed or or or the federal government spending significantly more money than what it's taking in, which is creating hyperinflation, we see interest rates going up, I mean, it's sort of a uh terrible man, man or woman inflicted uh suffering and you see a system that is designed to sort of create trust by making it human list in effect, it was something that was very attractive. Obviously, the Blockchain, I was part of the Blockchain Foundation, part of the Blockchain task force for the state of florida. So I had a sort of education on the technology prior to the moment where I sort of decided to go all in on and I thought that it could be a differentiator, being a young mayor who understood the tech who understood that I wasn't taking as big a risk as people thought I would be taking. Um and it's been great for our ecosystem. I mean, whatever the price of Bitcoin is at a given moment is pretty much irrelevant. What's important to me is we have the Bitcoin conference, we have you guys, we have the Bitcoin conference which is tens of millions of dollars in economic development, we brought a tremendous amount of funds and uh and and exchange exchange is the headquarter here in Miami which has created hundreds of high paying jobs and then we got F. T. X. To name our arena, it's a $200 million gift or contribution to our our community.
So it's it's been something that's benefited us to the tunes of hundreds of millions of dollars. So regardless of what you think about crypto as a technology, as an economic development tool, it's been game changing for us,
sacks. I'm curious how you think about what you've seen in this city versus you know where we all live and operate in the bay area and then across the country. How do you agree that the job the mayor has done here and what do you think the lessons are for the rest of the country?
Um I think you know has done amazing job here and it's something that other cities should be looking to emulate, which is simply to be helpful instead of you know being an impediment. I did an event for Mayor Suarez in san Francisco, you know my my home and it was the best attended event. I've done a lot of political events. The one we had with you was the best attended event I think we ever held. And the reason there was a tremendous amount of curiosity on the part of people in san Francisco in terms of what's been happening here and the kind of the thing that you heard over and over again by the people who attended that event who had asked questions was you know why can't we have a mayor like you in san Francisco because I don't live there.
Actually I'm I'm president of the U. S. Conference of Mayors. So I kind of jokingly say well I'm kind of you know trying to, but every, every city I go to, they asked me the same question and I'm like well I really like Miami a lot. Yeah, I mean fundamentally we have not just the mayor, but because the mayor services go is actually not bad. London breed's not bad. The issue is the board of supervisors who really controls the city. I mean they've been engaged in killing the golden goose. I mean san Francisco and the Bay Area had a lock on the tech ecosystem and because the political forces, they're defined tech as the enemy, they basically have driven it out. And as a result you now have emergent tech hubs all over the United States starting with Miami and Austin. Um and other cities like that and it's kind of crazy SAn Francisco had the monopoly and it basically chose to give it up
Spending, it was a giant grift right at like 4X budget per capita over New York. It's like reacted something insane.
It's crazy mayor,
let me ask a question around um One of the reasons Silicon Valley exists is because of the relationship with the universities in the Bay Area and obviously that still continues to be a big driver for the tech and more recently biotech economy in the Bay Area. a lot of people get their phds, they graduate engineering students, they stay in the Bay Area, UCSF stanford Berkeley etcetera. How do you think about the relationship between universities? What's the kind of um kind of reflective solution here? And are the relationships you can maybe build a bridge with California schools too? Kind of get innovation hub set up that that partner would,
I would, I would love to um you know, one of the things that's interesting about Silicon Valley is 95% of the people that live in Silicon Valley were not born in Silicon Valley Um in Miami, it's closer to 70% of the people that um, that live in the city were not born in the city. I'm actually anomaly being the first Miami born mayor in the history of the city 125 years. So that's that's a pretty cool stat. But I absolutely think that we can look, we're not perfect. I like to think that I get up every morning as a mayor, you sort of look at the imperfections and you, you try as a long term build right beyond these 24 months, you start thinking about one of the structural things that we can do better and I think you just hit on one of them, right? I think certainly having a university that's at the caliber of the stanford, the M. I. T. S, you know, Harvard even. Ut and Georgia tech, a lot of fanfare um in Austin and, and in the Atlanta area. Um and so I think we can certainly do better. Um I'm not one of those people that likes to be complacent or the things that, you know, even if we had a university at the caliber of some of these universities, I'd be still trying to find a way to do better.
I think the world is highly disruptive, I think higher ed is highly disruptive and I think and it's an archaic sort of institutional, just like government, right? They always behind. So I think that that gives cities like Miami, if we're smart, if we find our crypto for universities right, we can sort of leapfrog a lot of them and and get to the top very quickly. I
think I want to ask you as well as we're up here a really hard question. Um we are struggling. The, I mean we have a drug crisis in this country with fentaNYL, it is a super drug we have never seen, we have this problem in san Francisco with homelessness and drugs and you're now running the uh conference of all the mayors in the country and you all come together and it seems like some cities are figuring out how to deal with this and some are floundering is the issue that we're looking at a super drug and an addiction problem that has very low chance of resolving itself through even, you know, when when somebody can get a bed and go to recovery, the recovery rates for fentaNYL are low single digits. And we're looking at this as if the problem is actually homelessness that they don't have a home when in fact they are addicted to a super drug, why can't we look at this for what it is and stop conflating a super drug addiction problem with people not having a home and an economic issue. It seems like there's some denial going on.
Sure look, I think is the numbers are very scary, right in terms of recovery, it's infinite testable in terms of people that can get out of that, that vicious cycle of fentaNYL addiction. Um In Miami what we did about 10, 15 years ago was we created a network of of of of of facilities that do drug treatment, alcohol treatment, mental health and vocational training all at the same place. Um It's called the homeless trust we use, I think it's a cent from, it's basically a tourist tax. So people who come in and visit Pay a bed tax when they come and visit a hotel. It generates about $50 million usa we reduce homelessness by about 90%. With that network, we're now down to the chronic A few. The last 10%. It's about 1000 in the county in Miami in the city, which is one of 34 cities in the county, we have 510 homeless right now in the city and,
you know, down to the
person, the person we do, we do a, a continuous audit and continuous, uh, census. And so we know down to the person. And I think the key for us to go to zero, right aside from trying to fund the network's wish list, which we did with some funding that we got is to really know them at an intimate level, know their stories, right? You know, when we first met, one of the things you said was, you don't know someone until, you know their story, How do you drill down and how do you get inside and know what is, what's the reason why they're there, Whether it's addiction, whether it's, Uh, some people just have been homeless for 20 years and they're just used to it, right. They want
to live like they
wanna live on the streets and those are the hardest ones because you really can't unfortunately legally tell them. You can't live on the street, Right? So it's, it's, it's, it's about convincing them that there's a better path. There's a better life that, that, that there are things out there that can create more happiness for them.
Yeah, but you have to hold the line as well. On a policing level. Like if you, as we've seen in SAn Francisco, if you incentivize it by not doing any basic policing, you get more of it. Well,
here's the issue, I think what people often forget is obviously people who are homeless or human beings and they need to be treated with dignity at the same time, there are human beings like we are, if any one of us is recording over there, if any one of us just got up and started urinating on the stage right now, they would be arrested, they would be arrested. So, so we're held to a certain level of account as human beings where our actions affect others, right? So it's not just about the human person and how we take care of that human being, but it's also how does a human being interact with and affect everybody else? And I think that's the part that gets lost sometimes in the debate.
Mayor before. Sorry, I want to ask one question, you focus on local issues, the city that you operate, What do you think happens to the United States, the federal government over the next 30 years, you have any points of view and where we're headed as a
wow, it's, that's a long, that's a loaded question, but I think
you'll be running for Mayor President 30 2032 when are you planning to
whenever also authorizes it? Um,
It has been authorized, you know, you are looking at an 8-12 years from now, he will be the president of United States. But anyways go ahead and
I'm always trying to hack and accelerate the process. Um, so yeah, so, so it sounds good by the way, I think a few things, I think first of all those three uh those three bullet points, if you will those three uh sort of keys to success, keeping taxes low investing in quality of life, which is sort of homelessness and safety. And then uh you know, creating high paying jobs was leaning into an innovation economy were transition. That's that's a that's a recipe for success for the country. Look, look what we did in Miami in two years. Absolutely, we can, I think we have to transition. There's there's two inflection points which are massively disruptive. The first is from an industrial to a digital economy and the second is from the boomer generation to our generation. Right? So those two inflection points are happening at the same time. If we and what I what that does, I call it a tsunami of opportunity, right? And if we get ahead of the tsunami and we surf that wave as opposed to letting the wave run us over.
Um I think we can create a generation of prosperity, but look, you have, you have china and and Russia banning Bitcoin, do we want to agree with china and Russia on anything right now, I don't know, you know, I don't think so. So, you know, I think there are tremendous opportunities for us to lean into this innovation economy and create prosperity. You have the largest microchip factory in the world being built in columbus Ohio. Um, I think that's something that we need to sort of reclaim our ability to to produce things in the technological industrial revolution. Um, we're seeing, you know, Bitcoin mining facilities that are done at carbon, carbon neutral. Uh, so I think there's a lot of opportunities in this new economy for us to really jump ahead where skilled labor is going to be a premium over unskilled labor that's gonna be done with computers or you know, you know, printers or whatever.
Mr Mayor, we appreciate that you are putting your life to service of the citizens of this great city. Uh and we really appreciate that because you have other opportunities you could have pursued and you're pursuing really changing what is, you know, some some major dysfunctions in the political system and we're all rooting for you. And and the results are undeniable. And we really do appreciate you. Ladies and
let your winners ride, rain man! David, open sources to the fans and they've just gone crazy with it. What? Oh man, we should all just get a room and just have one big huge or because they're all this like this like sexual attention, but they just need to release some what your what your we need to get our